What Is Misdemeanor Hit-and-Run?
Section 20002 of the California Vehicle Code imposes a duty upon all drivers. Failure to perform that duty is the crime of hit-and-run. Under the hit-and-run statute, any driver:
- involved in an accident;
- resulting in damage to someone else’s property;
- must immediately stop at the nearest safe location; and do either of the following;
- provide their driver’s license and registration to the other driver or owner of damaged property (or)
- leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or damaged property a written note giving name and address of the driver and of the owner of the involved vehicle and a statement of how the accident happened and then, without unnecessary delay, notify the local police or highway patrol.
It is important to note that all involved parties must fulfil this duty, even if you didn’t cause the accident. Often, a party not at fault will leave the accident scene to avoid being arrested for DUI. Moreover, a driver can be “involved” in an accident without actually hitting anything or being hit. For example, if a driver swerves to avoid you and hits another vehicle, you are “involved” and have a duty to stop. Felony hit-and-run occurs when someone other than the defendant is injured. I will discuss this far more serious charge in another blog.
What Is The Punishment For Misdemeanor Hit And Run?
Misdemeanor hit-and-run is punishable by up to six months in the Orange County jail and a fine up to $1,000.00. (The fine is tripled with the court’s “penalty assessment”) There is no mandatory minimum for a first-offense and, if convicted, the court has complete discretion to impose some or none of the six-months of jail time.
Typically, the District Attorney (DA) will offer to settle the case without a trial. The DA’s offer is usually based on the defendant’s criminal record, how bad the damage was, whether the defendant was DUI when he or she left the scene, and other surrounding circumstances.
Can I Avoid Jail For Hit And Run?
If the DA offers you jail for this charge, perhaps because of prior convictions or because of the circumstances of this case, your Orange County criminal defense attorney may be able to persuade a judge to allow a substitute for jail. Home confinement is the best possible option, but others include community service, Caltrans, a private jail (you get to go to work in the day) or weekend confinement.
If you have no record, the damage wasn’t too bad, and you were cooperative, your criminal defense attorney may be able to keep you out of jail altogether. In fact, we have been very successful in these cases of not only avoiding jail but also avoiding a hit and run conviction. Two of our favorite settlement tools at The Law Office of EJ Stopyro are Civil Compromise and Deferred Entry of Judgment. Under these two options the defendant will pay for any damage not covered by insurance, perhaps take a class on personal responsibility, and ultimately have the case dismissed with NO CONVICTION on their record.
Free Telephonic Consultation With An Experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer
At The Law Office of EJ Stopyro we offer a free confidential telephonic consultation with a veteran criminal defense lawyer. Call us at (949) 559-5500 today. EJ will be happy to help you explore your options and assess your case. Our business office is at 32072 Camino Capistrano, 2nd floor, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. However, for your convenience, we have meeting offices throughout Orange County.